Concord, N.H. – Newt Gingrich slammed Mitt Romney's record as Massachusetts governor Wednesday, arguing that the GOP frontrunner doesn't have the political will necessary to reform Washington as president.
"If you want to truly change Washington D.C., somebody who failed totally to change Boston may not be the right person," he told reporters.
"Ask Governor Romney why he had to pick liberal judges, why he had to have state-paid abortions, why he had to put up with Planned Parenthood being in Romneycare, there's a list of things. They all are how he accommodated Boston, not how he changed it." He added, "If what you're trying to do is change Washington, you better pick somebody tough enough and strong enough to change it."
Gingrich declined to offer congratulations to Romney for winning the Iowa caucus by eight votes, a courtesy he had extended to second place finisher Rick Santorum last night.
"Somebody just sent me an email a few minutes ago saying the 66 additional votes [Governor Romney won] over 2008 came at a cost of about $100,000 a vote," he said, throwing his hands in the air. "Other than the fact Governor Romney ran a relentlessly negative campaign of falsehoods which earned one of his ads four Pinocchios from the Washington Post, and the fact is 3 out of 4 Republicans rejected him, Governor Romney is a moderate Massachusetts Republican to the left of a majority of Republicans."
The former House Speaker criticized the belief that Romney is the "most electable" candidate when when he couldn't "even break out of his own party."
"If you look at the dollars spent by Romney and the dollars spent by Santorum, you'd praise Santorum too," Gingrich said.
Gingrich also spoke highly of Michele Bachmann, who bowed out of the race Wednesday, calling her a "courageous" woman with "considerable talent" who was "superb in walking through the reality of terrorism at a time when Congressman Paul, I think, has a fantasy foreign policy that is enormously dangerous to American national security."
Asked if she might be a good running mate, Gingrich said, "She certainly is somebody you would look at for a cabinet office or for some other office…I don't want to get into the whole laundry list but she has a long future in politics."
While Gingrich took his gloves off for reporters at the media event, he made no mention of his antagonism towards the "Massachusetts Moderate" at his town hall in Concord.
Asked whether he was trying to avoid provoking a formidable candidate by targeting him in front of potential supporters, Gingrich told reporters that he was inspired by the number of students in the room.
"I know this is hard for some of you who specialize in covering the carnage of politics. I actually thought it was nice to talk about history, culture, education."
He added, wryly, "I thought describing the contrasts in front of you was sufficiently direct that Governor Romney will get the message."